At some point, many DJs and fans think about hosting their own parties instead of playing at other people’s parties. This will mean some extra work, but the prospect of setting your own rules, playing your kind of music and also earning some money are very attractive for many DJs.
However, a good DJ is not necessarily a good event organizer. There are some things that you need to know when organizing your own party, and promoting it is probably one of the most important things – you don’t want to play in front of an empty room, right?
Here are some ideas about what you can do:
- Create your own brand!
When you start your own event, people will want to know what to expect. Most people won’t know too much about music genres, so simply describing it will not always be enough – especially if you are playing non-mainstream genres. Creating your own brand really helps people to get some associations with your event beforehand. The minimum is a name, a consistent visual design (for flyers, posters online ads etc) and a clear tonality for your event description.
- Use Facebook!
Facebook is possibly one of the most powerful tools to promote a party.
Facebook events are used by many event promoters to make people aware of their event. This has several advantages: You can invite your friends directly, you can promote them easily using Facebook ads and when someone accepts your event invitation, their friends will also see that.My personal experience is that this is very efficient and effective. I did two completely sold-out parties recently with just Facebook promotion and a little bit of online promotion outside of Facebook – no posters, no flyers. And yes, it is worth putting a bit of money into Facebook ads. It really works.
- Promote your style!
If your style is not very well-known, it might be useful to promote the style first.
This will help you raise attention for what you are doing and make you seem a trendsetter if you are the first one who organizes parties in that style.
For example, when I started hosting Electro Swing parties with some friends here in Cologne, we first educated people about that particular style of music and make them aware of it. We created a Facebook page, we put together a compilation with newcomer artists and collected and shared videos and DJ sets from other people as well. Of course, we also promoted our own parties directly, but we also did a lot of indirect promotion – this really helped a lot because some people already knew what we were talking about when we announced the first events.
- Find local event portals!Apart from Facebook and big online portals, there is often a number of smaller local event websites that work as event listings. Those websites might be an important source for your target group and you should make sure to identify the relevant ones. Basic entries are usually free, but you sometimes have to pay for extra visibility.
- Print and distribute flyers!
Flyers are probably the most well-known tool to promote parties, especially electronic music events. Flyers are relatively cheap and easy to produce, you just need someone to design them.
However, be aware that you also have to distribute them! If you do this yourself, this can take up to several days in a bigger city. There are often people who offer to do this for several event promoters for a fee and this can save you a lot of work.
My personal experience is that flyers are nice, but they are also a lot of work. Think about if you really need them – in some cases, it’s also ok to just print a small number and only give them to people directly instead of distributing them through bars and clubs.
- Put up posters!
Posters will give you a good visibility in the city. They are especially useful if you start a new event series and not too many people know you yet.In many cities, there are reserved areas for event posters, and only licensed service companies are allowed to put their posters there. I strongly recommend using one of these service companies to make sure that your posters stay where they should and that you don’t violate any local regulations.
- Record DJ sets!
Recording a DJ set in the style of music that you will be playing at the event gives potential guests a good impression of what they can expect. This is a very useful promo tool that you can distribute over Facebook, give away on CDs or have people discover on mix platforms like play.fm or mixcloud. Make sure that the set is in a really good audio quality, has no glitches or bad transitions and that it reflects the style of music that you will be playing.
- Activate your personal network!
Direct recommendations from friends are usually the strongest influencing factors. Instead of inviting a lot of your friends at once, it really helps to talk to them individually.
It is also very useful to identify influencers that attract a lot of other people to your party and give them a place on the guest list – if they bring enough of their friends along, that one place on the guest list won’t hurt you.
- Do all of the above!
It is very important to not rely on on event promotion tactic alone. There is always something that can go wrong with whatever you do so using more than one tactic spreads your risk. Your promotion will also be more powerful if people see more than one of your promotion acticity – this will make you look much more serious about what you are doing and get you more respect.
What are your experiences in promoting events? What worked for you? Let us know in the comments!